My wife and I like to do some things on date night, that aren’t cliche. We like to try things that are fun and challenging. That is how we stumbled on handgun target shooting. We really like that, it is a ton of fun. Today our plan to go to the range lead to a different type of target and ballistics.
We have been promising to take my Mom to the gun range for a while. We have tried to make it work a few times, but we always decide to go on a whim. So tonight was another one of those nights. My parents are going through withdrawal symptoms. They are committed to this grandparent thing, and spend every moment they can with Evelyn. However Evelyn is on the road this weekend, going to see the Grandpa in Grande Prairie. My parent’s are a little more than twenty four hours removed from the exodus of their granddaughter. We figured the perfect time to take Mom to the range.
We met them for dinner, us intruding on their lovely evening together. After a nice dinner and a nice chat, it was decided that Mom was too tired for a trip to the range. So we renegotiated for a trip tomorrow evening.
This left Tiana and I without much to do, except I had already planned something. As fun as a good movie is, we like to explore new things. Besides the gun range, we both really like the batting cages. We aren’t baseball fans but swinging a bat for a little while is a ton of fun. The cages are a forty minute drive away, too far for tonight. I had looked up the local archery ranges today and found one not far from home that was open for beginners.
We arrived at the range about an hour before they closed. For a very reasonable $32, we were outfitted and ready to play. A small lady behind the desk got us a bow, some arrows and an arm guard. Tiana was handed a recurve bow that had a wood grained look and some gloss white sections for the finish. It looked pretty cool, worthy of Catnis. I got a all matte black bow, it looked industrial. It was bulky and without any character.
After being assigned our weapons we were introduced to the instructor. The instructor was a touch over six feet, slim shouldered with a bit of a belly. He had grey hair, at least below the cul-de-sac of a shiny forehead. He wore a red range shirt, a pair of jeans and a dull gold belt buckle. He took us to the range to teach us how to use the bow. The range was a concrete floor with some targets spread at different distances. On the floor, marking each lane, was a small quiver for the arrows. While our instructor talked I found my mind wandering, he wasn’t the most exciting conversationalist. He was a guy who loved his archery, but he had a bit of a monotone voice. I watched the guys with all their fancy bows shoot away. So at the end all I could remember is that we weren’t to retrieve arrows shot over the targets. They went into an area where they stored animal targets for special events.
First he taught Tiana how to shoot and then me. He regularly referred to how girls had some specific issues, like how their arms hyper extended. I am not sure he was aware of the fact that women are also humans. Different times attitude I guess. When he got to the part about women having issues because their breasts got in the way my ears perked up. Now, I know where you are going with that, and hey now you are actually reading, but I made my sexually explicit post for this week. No it got to my attention for a different reason. As he spoke of a ladies breasts getting in the way, I looked down, notice two sizeable boobs of my own and a good sized belly. I see my lack of physical fitness was going to be an obvious hinderance. At least I can pretend I am not breathing heavy after a shift playing hockey, no hiding the potential thwap of a string from a bow against my belly.
My first arrow loaded onto the bow, I place the tips of my finger on the string and began to pull back. I know you are expecting to here of my bullseye aim, but this would not be the case on this arrow. Now the arrow proceeded to swing away from the boy before I had even pulled all the way back. I had to slowly move the string back to a position that allowed me to reposition the arrow. This happened three times, then I figured out how to pull it all the way back properly. The string pulled back to the corner of my face, I released my hold on the string and loosed my first arrow. Images of shooting an apple off of someone’s head flashed before me. The daydream ended quickly by a loud thump. While everyone else’s arrow landed on target with a soft thud, the sound of it entering the thick straw like targets, mine had struck below the target and into the wooden stand. I loaded a second, loosing it forward, this one striking the floor about 3 feet early and sliding underneath the target, an arrow lost to the animal target habitat. I was glad I hadn’t gone over top, potentially piercing the foam skin of an artificial deer target. This led to a trip to the front for a replacement.
Over the hour we were there I managed to go from a wild shot, hitting targets to the left and right (and the targets are about 4′ wide), to a consistent shot on my own target. I even had a few that were in the same area as the others. But the highlight of my shooting came on an errant shot. Staring down the arrow towards the target I prepared my shot. I pulled back on the bow, channelling my inner Robin Hood (the Kevin Costner one I think), focused and released a shot. The arrow flew true towards a target, the one to the left of the one I was aiming at. It struck the edge of the target to the left and stuck. I wasn’t pleased but it was only a foot or so away from my original goal. As a pragmatist I felt that this was a reasonable sign of success. At the completion of each round the retrieval time take place. At first it seems arbitrary when everyone marches forward, into the line of fire, to retrieve their arrows from targets. But quickly you learn how to realize when everyone is ready . Upon arriving at our targets this time we got a surprise. I pulled my first two arrows and Tiana hers. Then I noticed that we had shot so close on my Robin Hood arrow that the arrows criss crossed. No wait, it was true Robin hood arrow, I had actually shot my arrow through the shaft of Tiana’s combining them into one mutant super arrow.
At this point I was pretty sure we were at our last round of archery. My wife had shot multiple arrows into the animal reserve in behind, I had launched one underneath. And now my wife was taking an arrow to the front desk to replace it because I had destroyed it. There is no way we could be very popular with the suppliers of our rental equipment.
At the end of the night Tiana had enjoyed her time. She was already pricing out a set of gear, more out of curiosity, because when we returned home she was more motivated to go pal with handguns.
Thanks to the Calgary Archery Centre for having us for an hour. What a great price for entertainment, Sorry we sucked that bad. By the way my belly only got in the way a couple of times.